My sister and I have relationship conflict. We’re two strong individuals with definite opinions about what we want and what we think.
I have gone and stayed with her for extended periods, sometimes even a couple of months, so there is more opportunity for disagreements and conflicts. Years ago, when we grew up, we didn’t know how to resolve conflict and we used to withdraw from each other.
Fortunately, we learned communication strategies and principles to work our issues through. Now, when we have an issue, we talk it through or let it go. If one of us is wrong, we apologize and let things go.
After years of practice, we are getting better at letting things go more quickly.
Tips which help us
1. Use “I” messages. Though we don’t do this all the time, when we’re doing it right, we take responsibility for our own thoughts and feelings. When we don’t, we remind each other or tell each other what we didn’t like.
2. We deal with the issue at the time and use “I” messages. For example, “I don’t appreciate it when you say or do this.” Or “I didn’t like it when you talked this way.”
3. If needed, we walk away and give each other some space to think things through. Sometimes when you get out of the heat of the moment, you can think more clearly.
4. We avoid engaging when the other one is upset. Sometimes when I sense an argument, I simply stop responding even if I think she’s wrong. Other times, she says, “I wasn’t going to engage with you when we’re upset. We may say things we’ll later regret and those words are hard to erase from our memories.
5. When our voices begin to rise in anger, we’ll pull away and wait until we can talk calmly and share our point of view using “I” messages.
6. Pray and ask God to help. Sometimes we need help to see where we are wrong and need to change. My sister says, “When I start being critical, it’s like God holds up a mirror and says, “Look how you are doing this yourself.” Many times, the things we criticize and dislike in others are issues we struggle with ourselves.
7. Look for the opportunity. Conflict is an opportunity to grow and change. We can miss those if we are not willing to swallow our pride and look at ourselves.
What works for you in relationship conflict? What helps you to resolve relationship communication. These are some relationship communication tips that have help us let go of offenses quickly. I hope they help you too.